On Saturday 21st July, bands from the Composed; Musicians Development Project played an intimate gig at West Track Studios in Canterbury. The gig celebrated nearing the end of the project, and the progress that each person has made along the way.

The performances were scheduled to start at 7pm – by five past 7 the first band on the bill, ‘Every Aspect’, were already in full swing. It was (crowded) standing room only with an audience consisting mostly of family and friends of the band, along with members of bemix and Music for Change and their families. The studio was buzzing with nerves, excitement and music - not to mention it being about 28⁰C!

First up were Every Aspect who brought a blend of soul and hip hop with a political edge.  The band consists of Sophie (guitar and vocals), Ollie (guitar and vocals), Mia (vocals and operating loop station), Harry (rapping, beatboxing and operating loop station), Amy (bass), Rosie (keyboard), Connor (drums).  Connor was unable to make the gig, so previous Composed member and project volunteer, Martin, stepped in and played drums.


The second and final band of the Showcase was No Idea.  A band of passionate performers playing an eclectic mix of musical genres.  The band consts of Yiannis (vocals and guitar), Harriet (vocals), Nelly (vocals and percussion), Steve (bass and percussion), Naomi (violin), Max (bongoes and vocals), Frank (drums and bass).


Throughout their set, I was struck by the gentle and humble support that Yiannis provided; encouraging everyone in the band to be seen and heard and play the instruments they wanted.  For example, it was clear that the band's drummer, Frank, wanted to play bass. In the last couple of songs Yiannis encouraged Frank to switch instruments and take to the front of the stage.

Singer, Nelly, was overcome with emotion throughout the performance yet persevered with encouragement from her family in the audience and Yiannis on guitar and vocals. During a cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds", Yiannis stood with Nelly and encouraged her to join him in singing, which she did. She grew in confidence during the show and ended the gig smiling.



The Showcase ended on an upbeat cover of Start Wearing Purple by the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello. Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps intentionally, a nod to the fact that purple is the colour associated with the disability rights movement (the spending power of people with disabilities is known as the purple pound.  

"Lots of movements adopt a colour and often that colour has significance to the particular cause. Grey (or sometimes silver) describes the hair colour of older people, pink has been ironically adopted by the LGBT community, green evokes the environment. Labour's red is a historical reference to the blood of workers.  Purple is now being used by campaigners, charities and the government to refer to the spending power of disabled people" - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-25812302

After the gig, I interviewed Every Aspect singer, Sophie - 

Where did the band name "Every Aspect" come from?

Harry came up with this himself. The name is about seeing people whatever their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, from every aspect rather than seeing them from one viewpoint. Seeing the whole person and everything they have to offer and seeing people for who they truly are! A positive message :-)


There is a real political slant and focus on equality in a lot of the songs from Every Aspect - could you tell me a bit about how that came about? 

During song writing and the band development, Mia started to sing Black or White over guitar chords the band were playing. I helped Mia form this into a melody and something that worked lyrically.  "This world ain't black or white, this world ain't black or white, why don't you just let it go, this world ain't black or white" .  The words seemed to lend themselves nicely to a song about people getting over the fact that there are black people and white people in the world.  It is a subject that doesn't need to be spoken about and just needs to be accepted as though it isn't an issue. To add to this message, the group then decided to put a speech by Martin Luther King's grand daughter at the beginning and the end of the song to highlight the message of equality and zero tolerance for racism in this world.

Everyone in the band look comfortable and confident on stage.  Could you tell us about how people have progressed during the programme?

Harry has been learning to beat box and use loop stations to accompany his rapping. At the end of the set, Harry did a solo performance of this to showcase the skills that he has developed during his time at Composed.

Mia has grown in confidence so much during the programme. This was only her second gig and has come so far.

"It was really good performing for the first time in front of a crowd singing original songs." - Mia - Singer, Every Aspect

Photo credit - huge thanks to Nicki from Hexagram for volunteering her photography and film skills for the event.

Hexagram is an emerging music video production company.